by Tendai Dube | Jul 29, 2014 | Featured 1
The exhibition, From Sitting to Selfie, creates a history of the phenomenon of taking ‘selfie’. Photo: Tendai Dube.
The ‘selfie’ has had such an impact on society that the word itself is now part of the dictionary. To capture the history of the phenomenon, the Standard Bank Art Gallery is currently hosting the exhition the From Sitting to Selfie. The exhibition showcases the origins and history of the phenomenon, often seen to be the result of social media and camera phones.
“There is a lot of variety, it covers a long period of time”, said Sue Isaac, gallery administrator. The exhibition showcases 300 years of South African portraits, dating back to the 1617 with two portraits by Cornelis van der Voort, Portrait of a Gentleman and Portrait of a Lady.
The collection is proof that the obsession with one’s image has been around for much longer than Instagram selfies.
Capturing a moment in time is not necessarily external; art was created from a retina image from a visit to the optometrist. Another of metal carved into a skull by laser.
One of the more lighthearted time-stamps is a self-portrait of Mikhael Subotzky by Marc Nicolson after being stung by a bee in 2004.
“It’s like looking at Facebook, I just don’t get it [selfies]”, said Linda Engelbrecht, an art aficionado who visited the gallery. “I can’t imagine why people would want to publish bad photographs of themselves”, she added.
Curator Barbara Freemantle explained that sitting portraits in the past were done to “best capture the essence of another human” while selfies are “a memento or to document the photographer’s own presence at a particular occasion.
“I think it’s just a popular fad at the moment which I think will run its course, maybe not because we are all pretty egotistical, so perhaps it won’t”, said Isaac.
The exhibition ends on September 6 and is held on the corner Simmonds and Frederick street.
by Lutho Mtongana | May 21, 2014 | Featured 1
Mxit came first, Facebook followed, Twitter was not far behind but while each of these social media platforms was growing, the “selfie” was quietly establishing as one of the hottest trends in recent times.
If you’ve been buried under a rock somewhere, a selfie is a picture or photograph taken by one’s self and shared on social media platforms. There are different kinds of selfies taken daily, by celebrities and ordinary people alike.
There is even a song about selfies by the band the Chainsmokers. But while their popularity is undisputed, the motivation for this trend is not quite clear.
Academics, psychologists and sociologists alike are still probing the obsession with the self-image and the need to share almost every moment via a turned-around camera. Studies so far have have shown that selfies are an indication of a person’s obsession with appearance and the need for attention which is largely attributed to a low self- esteem or narcissism even.
People compete for the perfect selfie in all sorts of settings, including the gym, at a party out with friends, just lazing around or studying in their rooms. For others it is about a new hairstyle, a hot outfit or their make-up.
“I usually take selfies when I have a new hairstyle, I take a lot of selfies then,” says 4th year Social Work student, Sinethemba Nkosi.
For Nomvelo Chalumbira, 2nd year BA student, she takes selfies when she is out with friends in a new place or on holiday, and sometimes when she is really bored when studying.
She added, “I don’t take them often at all, because I feel like it’s very vain and most of the time when I take them, I’m in a comfortable space with people I’m comfortable with or where I’m comfortable myself.”
SAY CHEESE: A group selfie with some of #teamvuvu. Photo By: Illanit Chernick
Selfies are not a big deal for Silindokuhle Mavuso who is studying a BSc Honours in Geology and Palaeontology, “I barely take selfies, maybe one or two a month and if I take one it’s because I’m drunk with friends.”
Selfies are intimate and relate one’s personal experiences. But because of the belief that “if it’s not on social media, it did not happen,” content like selfies is readily shared on social media.
Nkosi says, “Most of the time I use them as DP [profile picture] for BBM or Whatsapp and Facebook.”
Mavuso who thinks taking selfies is conceited and pointless, tries to avoid taking them. He believes, as Chalumbira does that, taking a selfie is a very vain thing to do.
Whatever your feelings about them though, the popularity of the selfie is such that the word has been added to the Merriam-Webster English dictionary.
It was announced this week that the word, defined as “an image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera especially for posting on social networks,” will now join other terms like ‘tweep’ and ‘hashtag’ in the dictionary.